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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published January 26 2011

Bachmann responds with ‘cut government’

The mood inside the U.S. House chamber during Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech was more subdued than in recent years, but after the president delivered his speech, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann took him head-on.

“For two years, President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight,” the Minnesota congresswoman said. “Yet, still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices, and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.”

Even with a new atmosphere that followed the Jan. 8 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, Republican Bachmann was strongly critical of Democrat Obama.

Obama called for keeping, but fixing, new health care policy; Bachmann urged its full repeal. The president said he wanted to freeze domestic spending for five years; the congresswoman said he said that in the past but did not follow through.

Bachmann used the nationally televised response to Obama’s speech to ask federal officials to slow down spending, and she promised to fight for that and other conservative ideals.

Talking to voters, Bachmann said the message from the 2010 election was clear: “Last November, you went to the polls and voted out big-spending politicians and you put in their place men and women with a commitment to follow the Constitution and cut the size of government.”

Bachmann was in the spotlight throughout Tuesday, as she apparently considers running for president next year. The congresswoman, who serves an area from St. Cloud to northern Twin Cities suburbs, did not deliver the official Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union address, but she received far more publicity than Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan did for his GOP-endorsed speech.

Bachmann, speaking at the request of the conservative and libertarian tea party movement, listed suggestions federal policymakers could follow, including passing a federal constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget to be introduced today by several lawmakers, including new Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.